Musik, ishockeylejon och konstruerandet av en nationell gemenskap
In Finland the men’s Ice Hockey World Championship has evolved into a yearly carnival that unites the Finns like no other sport or musical spectacle. Annually, new music in the form of "fight songs" is dedicated to the Finnish men’s national ice hockey team ("The Lions"), and these songs constitute the main material for this study. The songs have been complemented by interviews, a questionnaire and fieldwork conducted at international ice hockey games. On the basis of this material I argue that the Lions represent an imagined community (Anderson 1992) and the songs are a form of banal nationalism (Billig 1995) that contribute to the construction of "us", an imagined community that, on a symbolic level, "fights" other nations. By studying the songs used in association with the Lions, I explore how nationalism is constructed through mediated music during ice hockey world championships in Finland. The findings are also related to the cultural consequences of digitalization.
In the course of the research, I have distinguished different categories of processes in which the nation can be imagined musically. These include the use of the national anthem and established patriotic compositions, which are intended to pay national honour to the players. These patriotic songs contrast in function with newly written non-ceremonial songs of a more playful, carnevalesque character. These playful tournament songs have successfully penetrated the media landscape in everyday situations. The non-ceremonial songs can be divided into official songs, which are sanctioned by the national Finnish Ice Hockey Association, and unofficial songs, which have come to represent the Lions through media practice and its preferential right of interpretation. Finally, as a form of participatory culture the members of the community can themselves create and re-recreate the cultural products (in unofficial songs and mash-ups) with which the community can be both imagined and commented upon.